Accompanied by the hr-Sinfonieorchester (Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra), Georgian concert pianist Khatia Buniatishvili plays Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54. Conductor: Paavo Järvi. Recording during the Rheingau Musik Festival 2012 in Wiesbaden, Kurhaus, on August 23, 2012.
Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
Completed in 1845, it is a romantic concerto by the German composer who was widely regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era. The work premiered in Leipzig on 1 January 1846 with his wife Clara Schumann (see notes 1) playing the solo part. Ferdinand Hiller (see notes 2), the work’s dedicatee, conducted.
The piece is in three movements:
- Allegro affettuoso (A minor). The piece starts with an energetic strike by strings and timpani, followed by a fierce, descending attack by the piano. This exposition chord is followed by a descending, rhythmically incisive chord progression of the solo piano. The movement adheres loosely to the strictures of the sonata-allegro form (exposition-development-recapitulation). After a long cadenza that challenges the soloist’s expressive and technical abilities, the movement ends with a martial coda.
- Intermezzo: Andantino grazioso (F major). The piano and strings open up the piece with a small, delicate tune, which is heard throughout the A section. In the B section in the dominant the cellos and later the other strings and wind instruments display a singing theme which is derived from the piano flourish in bar 7. The piano accompanies the singing theme and interjects but never takes the lead. After a shortened reprise of the A section the movement closes with small glimpses of the first movement’s theme before moving straight into the third movement.
- Allegro vivace (A major). The finale opens with a huge run up the strings while the piano takes the main A major theme. Schumann shows great color and variety in this movement. Though the nominal time signature is 3/4, the movement in reality alternates between 6/4 and 3/2. The piece is cast in a hybrid sonata-rondo form with an extended and exciting coda, ending with a long timpani roll and a huge chord from the orchestra.
There is no break between the second and third movements (attacca subito).
Khatia Buniatishvili is a Georgian-French concert pianist. Born in 1987 in Batumi, Georgia, she began studying piano under her mother at the age of three. She gave her first concert with Tbilisi Chamber Orchestra when she was 6 and appeared internationally at age 10.
She studied in Tbilisi with Tengiz Amiredjibi and in Vienna with Oleg Maisenberg at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Her older sister, Gvantsa Buniatishvili, is also a pianist, and they have played together on numerous occasions.
Buniatishvili signed with Sony Classical as an exclusive artist in 2010. Her 2011 debut album included Liszt’s Sonata in B minor, Liebestraum No. 3, and Mephisto Waltz No. 1.
Buniatishvili is a regular attendee of the Verbier Festival, and she performed Liszt’s Sonata in B minor at the 2011 festival.
In 2012, Buniatishvili released her second album, Chopin, which featured solo piano works as well as Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor accompanied by the Orchestre de Paris and Paavo Järvi.
The Guardian reported “This is playing straight from the heart of one of today’s most exciting and technically gifted young pianists.”
- Clara Schumann (13 September 1819 – 20 May 1896) was a German musician and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. She exerted her influence over a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital and the tastes of the listening public. Her husband was the composer Robert Schumann. Together they encouraged Johannes Brahms. She was the first to perform publicly any work by Brahms. She later premiered some other pieces by Brahms, notably the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel.
- Ferdinand (von) Hiller (24 October 1811 – 11 May 1885) was a German composer, conductor, writer and music-director.
- Piano Concerto (Schumann) on Wikipedia
- Clara Schumann on Wikipedia
- Robert Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 on the Los Angeles Philharmonic website
- Khatia Buniatishvili on Wikipedia
- Khatia Buniatishvili official website